America's Healthier Past

Will the life expectancy of man take a downturn in the near
future? On average man is living longer today than he did 100
years ago. The life expectancy of women was 87 years in 2000; for
men it was 80 years.

Although man is living longer today than anytime in recent
history, what is the average quality of these lives? I am not
trying to be cynical, but is being ravaged by chronic diseases and
dependent on prescription drugs 'living?' And what about our
seniors who have strokes and suffer osteoporosis and have to be
placed in nursing homes?

Certainly this is not God's will for mankind. Let us take a trip
back in time to the early 1900s. My father who was born in 1898
grew up in the 1900s. Although life expectancy then (47 years)
was shorter than it is today, people were not plagued with the
chronic, degenerative diseases that afflict today's society.

The epidemic proportions of cancer, heart attacks, diabetes,
strokes, Alzheimer's disease and other diseases of modern
civilization were unknown in the 1900s. Also unknown were
sedentary encouraging gadgets such as video games, 24/7 TV, cell
phones and web surfing.

Cardiovascular disease caused only 15 percent of the deaths in
America at the turn of the century. Today, it is responsible for
over 50 percent. Death from cancer was around 3 percent; today
cancer claims approximately 25 percent of all Americans.

In 1900 there were only about 8,000 automobiles in America. Today
an average sized city has many times that amount. The average
family owners between 2 and 3 automobiles! The average citizen
living in 1900 walked a great deal. This translated into a much more
active lifestyle than what we experience today.

When my father was growing up there were no household
labor-saving devices. Electric washing machines, gasoline driven
snow blowers and lawn mowers, and electric doors were yet future.
Ordinary labor was a lot more physical in 1900 than today. This
has a direct bearing on the decline of our health today. Machines
are doing everything for us.

Study after study has shown that an active lifestyle (exercise)
reduces the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases plaguing
mankind today. It is a possibility that America's rising life
expectation will take a downturn in the near future. Medical
authorities are saying that if the escalating obesity epidemic
some our youth is not addressed soon, they will live shorter
lives than their parents.

Another factor which preceded chronic diseases from crippling
man in the 1900s was nutrition. Although you may find this hard
to believe, but man then actually ate more nutritious food. There
was nowhere near the quantity of refined foods as we have at our
disposal today.

There were no fast food restaurants serving highly processed
food. Although White Castle would come along in 1921, it would be
another 27 years before its competitor, McDonald's, would emerge.
Families then ate nutritious home-cooked, farm-fresh meals. These
meals consistent of natural meat and poultry that grazed on open
land. The vegetables and fruit were farm-fresh.

Today our meat is factory-farmed and shot full of antibiotics and
growth hormones. Our vegetables and fruit are arranged with
pesticides and herbicides. Even the fish has not escaped man's
dangerous chemicals. They are filled with mercury and PCBs.

Less active lives and a diet full of processed food, in addition
to the toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink and
bathe in, have conspired to cultivate an atmosphere in which
chronic diseases breed. Technology has indeed made our lives
easier, but it has also brought along a curse. It is a
double-edged sword.

Yes, man's life expectancy is longer than 1900. But technology
is about to reverse that trend. In the meanime many Americans
are living longer but miserable lives due to degenerative
diseases. Our seniors are held captive in nursing homes unable to
care for themselves. Others are held captive by pharmaceutical
drugs which only relieves the symptoms of diseases rather than
attacking the cause of it. Unfortunately, America's health
paradigm is 'treatment' rather than 'prevention.'